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CIty of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940's

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Overview

In 1939, fifty million Americans went to the movies every week, Louis B. Mayer was the highest-paid man in the country, and Hollywood produced 530 feature films a year. One decade and five thousand movies later, the studios were faltering. The 1940s became the decade of Hollywood's decline: anticommunist hysteria excommunicated some of its best talent, while a 1948 antitrust consent decree ended many of the business practices that had made the studio system so profitable.

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City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940's

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Overview

In 1939, fifty million Americans went to the movies every week, Louis B. Mayer was the highest-paid man in the country, and Hollywood produced 530 feature films a year. One decade and five thousand movies later, the studios were faltering. The 1940s became the decade of Hollywood's decline: anticommunist hysteria excommunicated some of its best talent, while a 1948 antitrust consent decree ended many of the business practices that had made the studio system so profitable.

In this masterful work of cultural history, the legendary Otto Friedrich tells the story of Hollywood's heyday and decline in a vivid narrative featuring an all-star cast of the actors, writers, musicians, composers, producers, directors, racketeers, labor leaders, journalists, and politicians who played major parts in the movie capital during the turbulent decade from World War II to the Korean War.

Friedrich draws on sources from celebrity biographies to trade-union history, mingling lively gossip with analysis of Hollywood's seedier business dealings and telling the stories of legendary movies such as Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and All About Eve.

A classic portrait of a special place in a special time, City of Nets gives us a singular behind-the-scenes glimpse into a bygone era that still captivates our imaginations.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“A ‘City of Nets’ is what Mr. Friedrich calls Hollywood in the title of his new social history. . . . Mr. Friedrich’s intelligent prose makes for fascinating reading.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062326041
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/11/2014
  • Pages: 736
  • Sales rank: 394,410
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Otto Friedrich (1929-1995) was a journalist and cultural historian. A contributing editor at The Saturday Evening Post and Time magazine, he was the author of fourteen books, including Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2014

    Hollywood in the '40's

    This book is full of trivia about the Hollywood studio scene in the 1940's. It would be of primary interest to people who remember those times, although students of film history may find some worthwhile anecdotes to savor. Since the text is episodic, and chapters are arranged by each year, the reader can stop and start without losing the thread of the story.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This is an excellent book loaded with facts and vignettes of the Hollywood movie industry during the 1940's and 50's. It takes you from the "Golden Age" right through to the start of the HUAC hearings and how television impacted the film industry. I found this book by accident and I can't say enough about what an excellent a read it is. If you're a fan of history and of the film industry this slice of Americana will provide insights into a world that was managed by press people and moguls who ruled like emperors over other people's lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2003

    Behind the scenes of an American epoch

    In the 1940s, when art, ambition, politics and money collided in the city of dreams, Hollywood - and America - would never be the same again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2002

    Excellent read

    This is a wonderfully readable and interesting account of Hollywood in the 1940's. It combines stories of stars, films and displaced intellectuals to create a great feel for the time.

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